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‘The Fugitive’ (Quibi review)

Produced by Nick Santora, Stephen Hopkins,
Basil Iwanyk, Tom Lassally, Albert Torres

Written by Nick Santora
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Boyd Holbrook,
Natalie Martinez, Tiya Sircar, Brian Geraghty,
Genesis Rodriguez, Glenn Howerton,
Daniel David Stewart, Keilani Arellanes

 

This is my first foray into Quibi, and it’s better than I expected though still underwhelming.

I’m not as opposed to the format as many others seem to be. It’s basically storytelling in serial form, which is a long-standing literary, TV and film tradition.

I know the cynics complain that Quibi is capitalizing on perceived shorter attention spans with them rascally millennials only wanting to watch short bits on their cell phones.

I’m sure there’s some truth behind the thinking, but this idea is hardly new, and certainly not inherently nefarious.

Dickens, Tolstoy, Jules Verne and Dumas, among others, originally published some of their greatest works as serialized novels.

Stephen King paid homage to the practice by releasing “The Green Mile” as a series of chapbooks.

Republic serials in the 30s and 40s were shown in weekly chunks.

And nineties MTV favorite Aeon Flux worked like gangbusters in super-short, impressionistic blasts.

So, I’m not at all opposed to the idea but was curious about the execution and compatibility of story and form.

The Fugitive is (I guess?) a reimagining of the Richard Kimble story, immortalized by both David Janssen in the TV series and Harrison Ford in the terrific 1993 film.

The story gets off to a bumpy start, as it turns out that our hero is not named Richard Kimble, he’s not a doctor, and he’s not running from the law because a one-armed man framed him for the murder of his wife.

Instead, we have Boyd Holbrook as recently-released ex-con Mike Ferro, framed for the bombing of a subway.

That’s just fine: a decent premise to an action series, certainly.

But why call it The Fugitive?

I only received the first four episodes for review (each around 8-10 mins in length), so maybe a one-armed man shows up in later episodes? Ferro reveals his last name is really Kimble and he has a medical degree?

Now, on to the positives.

It’s reasonably entertaining, if at times a bit stiff and artificial.

Kiefer Sutherland, in sorta-kinda the Tommy Lee Jones role, is fun as a detective with an energetic, appealing relationship to his team.

The pace is quick, in no small part due to the direction of Stephen Hopkins (a director with a wildly uneven filmography, but one who always tries to bring some style to the proceedings).

Is The Fugitive worthwhile? Sure, why not? It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it ain’t gonna set the world on fire, but it’s diverting.

I know, not a rave. But it’s a nifty little story trotted out in easy-to-digest installments.

Art it ain’t, but you could do far worse with your time-wasting.

The Fugitive is now streaming on Quibi

 

 

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